What to Do When You Doubt Yourself as a Leader

You’re heading a major project, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep the team together. The work is about to fall apart, and you’ve begun doubting your abilities as a leader. What do you do?

Self-doubt is the scariest part of leading a team. Leaders are expected to be self-assured, but what most people don’t know is that a little doubt can help with self-reflection at every step of the decision-making process. However, a lot of self doubt is unhealthy, and if not nipped in the bud, can cause you to spiral.

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Here’s how you can control the overwhelming self-doubt that’s been sitting on your shoulder like a permanent companion.

Hit pause

If you feel like the world is coming down on you, hit pause and take a step back. Experiencing self doubt is an indication of larger concerns you have. Think about why you’re having doubts and try to get to the root cause. Take your time to reevaluate your decision and reassure yourself that you’re on the right track.

Identify actions that will help you move forward

Once you’ve identified what you’re worried about, make a plan. Identify the steps you need to make your way to your goal. The steps might not be immediately obvious, but trust your instincts and begin paving the way for the plan. Just to be sure, ask a trusted colleague to discuss the plan with you before you finalize or convey it to your team.

Avert your strategy

Sometimes, it’s not the plan that needs to change; it’s your strategy. If a specific situation is making you doubt yourself, turn it around by being more diligent in your approach. Keep in mind that achieving the goal is not the only thing you’re after. Make the journey toward your goal a memorable learning experience for you and your team.

Achievement does not make the person. The goal is just a gift. It’s how you’ve lived and what you’ve done to achieve the goal that brings value to it. It’s the challenges that dare you to learn and grow that make you who you are.


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Know that you’re not alone

Your team may disagree with some decisions you make, but if they respect you, they’ll tell you about it in advance. Allow yourself to express your concerns about the project with them. A discussion will help you understand the reasons behind the decision you made in the first place, and that’s exactly the validation you require.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of self-doubt. Embrace it to outdo yourself every step of the way because that’s what capable leaders do.


If you need someone to pull you through this phase, contact renowned leadership speaker and motivational speaker Steve Rizzo. With his ability to maneuver people through the toughest of times, Rizzo has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Book Steve Rizzo for your next corporate event and find out more about his philosophy through his books Get your SHIFT Together and Motivate THIS!

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